ABOUT this time the old Duchess of Saxe-Coburg recorded a death which agitated the prospects of many princes in Britain and Europe. She wrote in her diary, "The Courier has arrived. Charlotte1 is dead! Good God! I cannot realize the gigantic tragedy. I cannot bear it. Poor, poor Leopold! She is dead, the beautiful, charming, good woman, the hope of the large population over which she would have ruled. Her death ruins the whole life happiness of Leopold. God's ways are wonderful, often terrible."
There were two men, Prince Leopold, brother of Ernst, and Doctor Christian Frederick Stockmar, son of a lawyer in Coburg, who had not been satisfied with the cramped horizon of life in the duchy. Prince Leopold, youngest of a family of eight, was almost twenty-seven, and Stockmar thirty, when Princess Luise was married. They were men of fierce but different ambitions. One wished to be a king; the other possessed the unobtrusive talent of being a maker of kings. Leopold began with slender hopes, for he was the youngest son of an obscure family which was still suffering poverty after the French occupation of 1806. He had realized this in his teens and had already tried to fill his life with experience. He was good-looking, intelligent, disciplined, correct in manner, yet sentimental. Above all, he was ambitious. At eighteen he had been an officer in the Russian Cavalry and was at the Russian Headquarters during the Battle of Austerlitz. Thus he had pledged himself to fight against Napoleon. But Leopold had the chameleon quality of the Coburgs, which often made it possible for them to change their loyalties to suit their desires. While still serving the Tsar, Leopold was received by Napoleon in Paris. Napoleon vowed afterwards that Leopold "begged" to become his aide-de-camp. Napoleon refused and Leopold returned to his Russian master. He fought at Kulm, was decorated on the battlefield, and then took part in the Battle of Leipzig.
In January, 1814, Prince Leopold fought through Switzerland, into France, and in March entered Paris with the Tsar. The next part of his story is told in almost every history book of the time: his arrival in London with the Tsar, his conquest of Princess Charlotte's heart and his marriage, with the prospect of becoming consort to the Queen of